Oodles and Oodles and Zoodles of Fun!

The hardest part about living a low carb lifestyle is the pasta limitation. I have to be honest though, the part about not eating pasta doesn’t bother me as much as the convenience factor. It’s so easy to boil pasta and toss sauce or meat with it, right?

We have some pretty awesome alternatives that offer way more nutrition and way less carbs and calories. Zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, carrot and sweet potato noodles to name a few. Let me know if you have any other veggie noodle ideas, I am always open to trying new things!  

I wanted to make something quick, easy, and light for dinner.

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Shrimp Zoodle Scampi

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 onion-chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce (we like our food with a kick!)
  • 2tbsp evoo
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup chicken broth or white cooking wine
  • grated parm cheese (optional)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  • Spiralize zuchini and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, season with a pinch of salt and put to the side
  • Heat 1tbls olive oil and cook onions and garlic till translucent
  • Add broth/wine, juice from 1/2 lemon,hot sauce and shrimp
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper
  • Cook till shrimp begin to turn pink and curl this is about 5 min (don’t over cook or it’ll become too rubbery)
  • Remove shrimp from heat and add 1tbls evoo and zoodles
  • Once zoodles are cooked, toss the shrimp back in, add butter, red pepper flakes and parm cheese

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Eggs and Beans on Top of Greens

 

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“breakfast of greatness”

This is one of my favorite breakfasts.

It’s filling, it’s yummy, and it makes me feel slightly less terrible about the several decades I spent eating strawberry pop-tarts and bagel bites.

The essence of “Eggs and Beans on Top of Greens” is this:
1. Eggs
2. Beans
3.  ….on top of Greens.

It’s basic. In a good way. And like all food, this recipe can also be enjoyed for lunch and/or dinner.

Plus you can modify it easily to make it your own 🙂

In case you’d like some guidance… here is how I do it.

Ingredients

  • one or two cage free eggs
  • approx 1/4 small onion, chopped
  • a handful of mixed greens (baby spinach & arugula = perfect)
  • 1/4 can Bush’s or Heinz Vegetarian Baked Beans (SO GOOD!)
  • salt
  • coconut oil/coconut oil spray (to coat pan)
  • Optional:  olive oil
  • Optional: tomato
  • Optional: splash of asian sesame dressing

Process

  1. spray pan w/ non-stick spray, or use coconut oil to coat pan
  2. cut up onions, begin sautéing them on light flame
  3. once onions begin to brown slightly, crack egg(s) on top of onions and scramble them all together
  4. salt egg/onion concoction
  5. move egg/onion concoction to one side of pan
  6. add beans to other side of pan
  7. put a handful of mixed greens on plate
  8. add egg/onion concoction on top
  9. add beans on top
  10. Optional: add a splash of olive oil on top of your concoction
  11. Optional: add a splash of asian sesame salad dressing to your mixed greens
  12. Optional: cut up tomato, add on top

If you’re feeling extremely rowdy, add half of an avocado for an enhanced gustatory experience.

…But don’t get too wild. Any more than half, and I WILL be forced to call the breakfast police.

Enjoy 🙂

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Meal Prep Love Affair

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Simple things in life make me so happy; puppies, kitties, a fresh mani, vacations, and napping are just a few examples. But what really excites me is meal prep. I am very passionate about it for several reasons:

 

  1. My time is precious and I have little of it. I do not want to spend it at the kitchen all night when I’ve just been at work all day.
  2. *Money. I cannot stand the idea of wasting money. My husband and I decided to take a break over the weekend and have a dinner date. Don’t get me wrong, I love quality time with my man and I love when someone else cooks for me (yay, no dishes!), but we have some future plans that we need to save up for… not only that, but our dinner cost approximately $60.00. Our entire food shopping excursion for last week was about $75.00 and that’s for two people, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the entire week! One meal cost almost as much as an entire week of food shopping. It’s ok though, got to live a little, right?
  3. Dedication/Success. If you psych yourself about how your week is going to look meal wise and you don’t stray from your plan, you will succeed! You will reach your goal!

 *Money: Don’t believe all the things you hear! It does not cost THAT much to eat healthy. I will discuss food shopping in a later post.*

 If you are just entering the world of meal prep, it can be frightening and intimidating and you may want to give up. But don’t! It gets easier and then you can Instagram all your beautiful meals, and awesome Tupperware containers. Thinking about stackable containers and snap lids give me LIFE. I just want to scream “Yes, honey, work it!” I’m pretty sure you will feel the same exact way.

Tips for beginners:

  • Don’t go all Top Chef on me. Basic = better.
    • Boiled eggs
    • Roasted vegetables
    • Baked potatoes
    • Avocados
    • Fruits
    • Yogurts
    • Oatmeal
    • Nuts
    • Rotisserie chicken
  • Make a shopping list. Do not go in blindly. The supermarket is full of temptation and you’ll start putting anything and everything into your cart. That is not cost effective and it won’t help you on your quest to health.
  • Organize your thoughts and think about what you want for the week. Or if a week is too much of a commitment, start small and do something like Monday through Wednesday.
    • I have a meal planner (you can buy them on Amazon) or get a notebook, or print out a meal planner calendar (they have free ones online that I use for my Husband).
  • Again, start small.
    • Meal for a day example (Please remember, this is just an example, sort out meals and portions to fit your needs and life style):
      • Breakfast: Hardboiled egg, serving of oatmeal and a piece of fruit
      • Snack: Yogurt and a serving of nuts
      • Lunch: 2 cups roasted veggies and 3-6oz of rotisserie chicken
      • Snack: Almonds, blueberries, and string cheese or serving of peanut butter with an apple or celery and raisins (ants on a log, anyone?)
      • Dinner: Baked salmon, baked sweet potato, serving of veggies and a fruit
    • You don’t need to make everything on Sunday night. Even planning a bit ahead helps.
      • Roast an entire week worth of veggies. It’s easy and requires very little time. Simple seasoning, little bit of oil and pop them in the oven. When they are done, let them cool off and portion them out.
      • Baked potatoes can easily be done a week in advance or you can microwave them. I usually put some salt, pepper, and evoo, wrap them in foil and bake them. This way I don’t need to think about it for the rest of the week
      • Slow cookers are definitely one of my BFFAEAE’s. This is an excellent way to cook in bulk and not be super attentive. We decided to go a little more plant based proteins this week versus the usual meat overload. Thai curry lentil soup it is! We are going to have so much left over… got a little overzealous as I often do (anyone want some?)
      • We’ve replaced noodles with zoodles…Spiralize dem bad boys and tuck them away for the week (see, meal planning. Good times). Same with other veggies, if you know you are going to be cooking with peppers, onions, celery- chop them up and put them away for later use!
      • We are going to have a romantic evening this week, picture, “Lady and the Tramp” with the pasta and meatball scene except this is going to be zoodles and shrimp.
      • Rotisserie is perfect. It’s already cooked for you and you can make several dishes: chicken salad, chicken with a side of vegetables, deli chicken salad (little bit of mayo, apples or raisins, etc) on a whole wheat toast or wrap.
      • Oh, now you’re getting tired and you really don’t feel like making those turkey meatballs… all you need to do is prep it, freeze it, and cook it the day you are ready
      • Fish- marinade it the night before you plan to cook it.
      • I love anything that you can make and freeze. Chili, soups, meatballs, stews, marinated chicken breasts (label your zip lock bag, throw your food in the bag, and store in the freezer), fruit sandwiches with peanut butter, etc.
    • Don’t get frustrated. It may not go as planned at first but it’s ok. Trial and error, my friend. Like I said before, make it simple… in my opinion, bulk cooking is the best. Get your slow cooker bestie, make some shredded chicken and the meal possibilities are endless (BBQ chicken wrap, bbq chicken stuffed sweet potato, shredded chicken tacos, shredded chicken tortilla pizza).

I can go on and on all day with recipe ideas, storage ideas, ways to shop and save but I must remember that you are my young grasshoppers. You must be patient… I must be patient.

I wish you all great success! Happy prepping!

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Chicken Soup for the Soul

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Last week I was on a chicken soup recipe mission because my Husband was sick and needed some good “Jewish Penicillin”. But there was just one little issue- neither of us like boiled chicken. It would be such a waste to get chicken for the purpose of flavor and then chucking it. I needed to find a way to not waste food.

I thought to myself, “why not use rotisserie chicken?” It totally worked and was so flavorful and I’ve made this concoction again for this week. This recipe was adapted  from here.

This recipe yields approx 6 servings so adjust accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • bag of carrots
  • bag of celery
  • 1.5 onions
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • whole rotisserie
  •  2 tbls oil or butter
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried oregano or Italian season (whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • *noodles/rice optional*

Directions:

  • Bring broth and water to a simmer
  • While the broth and water are warming up, chop up a handful of carrots, half an onion and one celery stalk- throw it into the pot
  • Season with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • Cover the pot partially. In the meantime, separate the skin and bones in one container and the meat in another
  • Place the skin, bones, and bay leaf in the pot, partially cover and simmer for another hour to release max amount of flavor
  • Chop up the rest of the chicken, carrots, onion, and celery. Put to the side
  • After the hour, grab a large bowl and a colander. Place colander over the bowl and pour mixture in. This will separate the broth from the skin and bone mixture
  • Take your chopped up veggies and oil and saute in the pot until soft
  • Pour broth back into the pot and place chopped chicken and parsley in and simmer for another 10-20 minutes
  • *Add noodles or rice when you are ready to serve

So much flavor and really easy to make. I hope you guys enjoy!

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Emotional eating and peanut butter banana sammies

This topic hits really close to home. I crave food the most when I am sad, stressed, nervous, made, or anxious. Basically it hits when I “just can’t deal”. For many years, emotional eating derailed me from succeeding on whatever diet plan I was on at the moment (we need to discuss the word diet at some point. I really hate that word. It’s a lifestyle change… once I realized the difference between diet and lifestyle change, my world changed).

Cortisol is a stress hormone that triggers cravings for foods that give immediate pleasure like high fat foods, foods that are salty and sweet. My go to foods were always pasta and breads and if I wasn’t home, man oh man, the most comforting food to me was Wendy’s #6- spicy chicken sandwich. Eating that food gave me such a temporary high. It reduced all my stress and made me feel like everything was ok in the world. But then I would get so mad at myself for eating those bad foods. What a vicious cycle from sadness and stress to anger and around and around we’d go.

Emotions are sometimes hard to control, BUT, we can control how we consume foods. I have my moments of weakness but not as bad as before and I definitely don’t beat myself up over it anymore because guilt is just another negative emotion.

Here are ways I’ve been able to help myself and I hope my experiences can help you too.

 Know yourself. Know what sets you off and be prepared.

Example: Work stressors. Keep healthy, satisfying snacks around. I always make sure to have something laying around like nuts (I love Emerald’s 100 cal packs of Cocoa Roast Almonds), apples, bananas, protein bars, or my recent favorite, banana peanut butter sandwiches (see recipe below).

 Find ways to cope.

Examples:

-Take your lunch break and go for a walk. Get the blood flowing, get some fresh air and relax. Enjoy the world around you.

-Keep a journal; sort out your thoughts, word vomit all over those pages!

-Take a breath! Breathing is a powerful tool that can prompt relaxation. Check this link out for some useful breathing techniques: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html

Get a hobby!

– I’ve had an on again off again love affair with Cycling. It’s back on and we are strong as ever and determined to make it work.

-How about art? Coloring? Check out these adult coloring books: http://www.amazon.com/Adult-Coloring-Book-Relieving-Patterns/dp/1941325122

-Watch animal videos on you-tube. I promise, this helps.

Talk to someone

There are a few people in life that can make me feel better- my husband, my parents, and my besties. Thanks guys, I love you!

If you have a moment, let us know what coping techniques you’ve used.

Banana and peanut butter sandwiches to the rescue:

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What you will need:

1 Banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Freezer safe Tupperware

Directions:

Cut banana into dime size pieces, you should be able to make 8-10 “sandwiches”

Spread thin layer of PB on a slice and top with another slice of banana

Put your sandwiches inside a freezer safe dish and freeze at least an hour before eating

Enjoy!

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